English, Law

Law and Morality

Law and Morality
In the modern world, morality and law are almost universally held to be unrelated fields and, where the term "legal ethics" is used, it is taken to refer to the professional honesty of lawyers or judges, but has nothing to do with the possible "rightness" or "wrongness" of particular laws themselves.
This is a consequence of the loss of the sense of any "truth" about man, and of the banishment of the idea of the natural law. It undermines any sense of true human rights, leaves the individual defenseless against unjust laws, and opens the way to different forms of totalitarianism. This should be easy enough to see for a person open to the truth; but many people's minds have set into superficial ways of thinking, and they will not react unless they have been led on, step by step, to deeper reflection and awareness
The right relationship between law and morality

Constitutional rights and wrongs (The Sunday Tribune, Dublin, October 1993)

An article and Editorial of your issue of September 19th have just come to my notice.  Commenting on a recent High Court Judgment of Mr. Justice Rory O'Hanlon, you take me to task for a negative view of contraception given in my book "Covenanted Happiness" (which Justice O'Hanlon quotes in his judgment).  The implication, it would seem, is that I offer an outdated theological understanding of conjugal sexuality, unacceptable to modern concepts of human freedom and rights.

Law and Conscience (Position Papers 1995)

     Let us first recall a few elementary ideas about both conscience and law, and then consider some aspects of their inter-relationship.

           Conscience can be described as a personal interior faculty pointing to the right and wrong of one's actions. It is what the moral theologians call the proximate norm of morality.  Vatican II speaks of it as the interior voice "always summoning man to love good and avoid evil, speaking to his heart, saying: do this, avoid that" (GS 16).

Law and Medicine in the Service of the Person and Society

(A lecture given in Wellington, New Zealand, 1994, to a combined meeting of the SS. Cosmas and Damian Guild and the St. Thomas More Society)

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